Bahra University

New testing method implements a highly reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure, conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable device unit and costs only around Rs. 500 per test

‘COVIRAP,’ the diagnostic machine developed by IIT Kharagpur researchers, has been successfully validated for its efficacy in COVID-19 detection by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Various commercial units have already approached the Institute for technology licensing to enable a rapid reach of this innovation to the common people.

After rigorous testing with patient samples by an authorized ICMR laboratory, adhering to their strict guidelines, ICMR has granted certification for this COVID-19 Diagnostic Test. This test has been designed to be fairly easy to conduct and affordable as well and can produce results within one hour.

This new testing method implements a highly reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure that can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable device unit developed by the IIT Kharagpur research team. The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application for dissemination without requiring manual interpretation.

Lauding IIT Kharagpur Researchers for their major contribution in the nation’s fight against COVID-19, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister of Education, Government of India, said, “I am glad the researchers from IIT Kharagpur have achieved the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat through this medical technology innovation. This would go on impacting the lives of many in rural India as the device is portable and can be operated on a very low energy supply. Minimally trained rural youth can operate this device.” Further, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, said,

“This innovation has made high-quality and accurate COVID testing affordable for the common people with a testing cost of around ₹500/- which can further be reduced through government intervention. As informed by IIT Kharagpur, this machine can be developed at a cost of less than ₹10,000/- with minimal infrastructural requirement making the technology affordable to common people. The testing process in this new machine is completed within one hour. I congratulate Prof. V.K. Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, and the research team led by Prof. Suman Chakraborty and Dr. Arindam Mondal for this path-breaking innovation taking molecular diagnostics from high-end labs to the field.”

The project received financial support from the Institute in late April 2020 as Prof. V.K. Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, decided to establish a dedicated fund to support COVID-19 related research and product development.

Prof. V.K. Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, said, “This is indeed one of the greatest contributions in the history of medical science, particularly in the area of virology, and is well set to replace PCR-based tests to a large extent.”